5 years ago we lived in a beautiful 3,200 square foot home across from a lake in my hometown of Salem, New Hampshire. Our house was always filled with people visiting or living with us who we still consider as our family. Then, God called us to move to the tiny island of Tonga in the South Pacific. We had never met a Tongan or even heard of the country before. And though Tonga is a Christian nation, 4 years later our ragamuffin family of 3 kids and 2 adults, moved to Tonga with approximately $2,000 US dollars. We felt strongly it wasn't right for us to go from church to church trying to convince people to support us in what God told us to do. If God said it, He would provide for our needs.
From spending time observing and getting to know Tongans and their culture we began to see how it wasn't that crazy that God would call us to minister to "Christians" in a Christian nation. I don't have statistics, but crime rate is getting higher and higher. Countries such as the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia are cracking down on Tongan illegals and emptying their jails by deporting them back to Tonga. New Zealand police and police dogs have been brought to the airport in Tonga to search for drugs because almost all of the drugs coming into New Zealand come from Tonga. We often see kids here huffing on a bug spray here called Mortein to get high. And the church is no better. Just recently 6 pastors from the biggest church here just got arrested for stealing $600,000 from the church. And this is good news, just a few years ago it would have been hushed up. Even I have to be careful about what i say in a blog post. Most tourists would never see this or be aware of the secrets that these beautiful getaway islands hide.
With all this in mind, we have started a nonprofit organisation called One Love Inc. And although we love Bob Marley, we named it One Love because we believe One Love is in God alone. The idea is simple. Provide people the freedom to serve and share with others without needing to take a course, have a degree, or meet a long list of exact qualifications. God's calling and the gift of the Holy Spirit are enough.
"Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus."-Acts 4:13.
One Love Inc. would also provide people a way to serve without needing to spend years raising support and the ability to just go! Our goals are to grow simple food and provide housing from local affordable materials giving people the freedom to come. We also want to provide others who do not consider themselves Christ followers an opportunity to share their gifts along side us and hopefully experience Jesus. Chris will be starting out by teaching skateboarding and how to build affordable creative homes with raw, local materials. We will be applying for grants to lease land for a base for One Love Inc. and bring on staff. If God wishes to further it, we then plan on expanding this to other South Pacific islands. One Love Inc.will be unlike anything offered in Tonga. The kids here have nothing to do, so when kids have nothing to do they get in trouble. Every Friday three christian schools meet at the bus stop for fights and overtake the main road with hundreds of fists flying. Girls take poisons to have secret abortions. Some are now becoming prostitutes to afford phones and trinkets. Stealing begins at a young age and continues into adulthood. With the strongest influence now coming from mainstream t.v., music that glorifies a gangster lifestyle, and a stream of experienced criminals from L.A., Tongan youth are in desperate need of something positive to do! The kids are naturally athletic and rough and LOVE watching extreme sports We hope to bring that with skateboarding,BMX, teaching building, and other talents from volunteers who can help bring other options to these kids.
I wish i could say following God in faith is all gorgeous sunsets and rainbows. We have faced and are facing many difficulties. Very little income means sometimes being hungry, washing 5 peoples laundry without a machine,sickness, pedaling/skateboarding miles to run simple errands, and the loss of basic comforts. A few weeks from now we will be moving from our Tongan house to a stick house until our "tree house" can be built. Although regaining some privacy (we live with a Tongan family and Tongan culture gives little allowance for privacy) will be fantastic, the anxiety of living in even harsher conditions is very stressful to our family...no running water, no bedrooms, no stove, etc....we don't even have mattresses yet! and we don't know how temporary this will be. We are truly grateful for God providing us with this place given to us by our friend here,It is an example of God's kindness and mercy. Our faith has truly been tested here. This journey of faith has been a cleansing experience for us as we get rid of our preconceived ideas of what faith is, to what kind of faith God has called us to.
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with[a] Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily,[b] and follow Me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.-Luke 9:23-24
I want to thank everyone who gave or is giving to help our family have a place to live here. We are always encouraged by it. Chris has been able to do jobs here to help support us, but the pay is around $2.50 an hour. Thank you for sharing in this with us.